How the Cloud moved from the Public Clouds to the Agile Enterprise

The 1990s saw the emergence of a new sport that captured the attention of the world – Women’s Soccer (or for our European friends Football). The landscape changed, older styles of play were overtaken with a pace unbeknownst to the world, and voila, a new sport is born. Ok, Women’s soccer was not a new sport, but an existing one taken to an enirely new level of stratospheric heights. The 1996 Olympics featured two times as many women’s teams as men’s, the US, Norway, China and Brazil all ran to the front, Mia Hamm took the mantle and forever after, the landscape was changed.

Similarly, the style of play in IT changed from past to current, leaving the old approaches in the dust. Understanding what people want, sometimes before they realize it themselves, and delivering it in a very cool package is their signature maneuver. Desires change, opportunities emerge, and winners are crowned. If your eyes aren’t open, you may not notice that the goalposts have moved and you won’t be scoring goals like Mia Hamm did. In IT, the goal is now becoming the ‘Agile Enterprise’ at whatever the cost to old ways of operating.

Just Qualifying Is No Longer Good Enough

For decades, the recipe for business success was predictability. Deliver good profit margin, incremental revenue growth, and grow market share. As you might expect, IT products reflected this business need, striving to provide predictable performance and availability while getting incrementally bigger and/or faster over time.

But now the name the of game is first mover advantage. Not just the first company to move into a new market, but the first to tap into what customers want, capture the imagination of customers and the market, and corner the opportunity. Ship early, gain paying customers, learn fast, iterate faster and win. Amazon killed off Borders and then Sears. PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo are challenging status quo AMEX, Visa, and Mastercard on who’ll own the future of payments. Tesla is valued at ~2X their revenue whereas Ford is valued at just 1/10th of that (~.2X of revenue). Your traditional data center storage may be up and kicking now. But can it stop, switch direction and receive ever-changing workloads while moving at a high rate of speed? Will it have the power, speed and agility needed to qualify as a world class enterprise storage?

Time to Think Different – Succeeding in the era of the Agile Enterprise

Okay, so we know how it turned out for the US Men’s team in their 2018 qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago, failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years. The US team wasn’t forceful enough to power through the massed ranks of defenders or imaginative enough to coax them to loosen up the opposition’s steadfast back line. Kind of like today’s traditional data centers. In the era of the agile Enterprise it is becoming vital to know how quickly you can move your data (agility) and in what direction (velocity). Agility and velocity have become the new metrics and in order to deliver on them, enterprises must think beyond the old ways of operating.

Parts of the technology industry have adapted, with AWS the obvious example. In 2003, in search of a way of scaling up faster and easier, it abstracted the application set from the data and found a new agility, later providing that innovation to others to rent, defining a new industry along the way.

In the private cloud, data storage for the tier 1 applications that deliver critical business value have been stuck on architectures built in the stone age of IT. Predictable performance, availability and scalability were the hallmarks of these enterprise storage architectures and matched the needs of the organizations that consumed them. Unfortunately, predictability via proprietary hardware and rigid embedded software came at the expense of agility. It takes a lot of time, money and effort to manage traditional data storage.

The problem for the agile Enterprise is that tier 1 apps consume a disproportionate amount of the IT budget. Analysts like IDC saw that these applications weren’t moving to the public cloud for a variety of concerns including:

  • Security – Unauthorized data access and data location requirements.
  • Performance – Low latency and overall throughput needs, which have the potential to erode as apps are instantiated from a cadre of microservices in the future.
  • Cost – Migration costs to begin with and cost of usage over time which has run amok.
  • Service Level Agreements – Inability to meet objectives with any certainty.
  • Lock-in – Chronic dependence on a single vendor, despite the rise of the new “it” term ‘Multi-Cloud.’

You may want 80% of your applications running in a cloud but those applications are of lower import. The bottom-line is that they equate to 20% of budget and even less focus. That’s all well and good, but the focus remains on the 20% of apps that are the lifeblood of the organization and need the benefits of a cloud approach. This isn’t a single goal – maybe a penalty kick in overtime – but it’s an entire strategy to formulate a winning plan.

You Don’t Need a Hat Trick

But it doesn’t need to be that complicated: Datera provides an answer – bringing the agility and operating model of the cloud to tier 1 application data storage, yielding a platform for the future. We call this Enterprise Software Defined Storage (ESDS) – designed to meet the classic enterprise requirements from earlier days (Tier 1 ‘-ilities’ like availability and reliability) but providing the agility need for a hybrid cloud world – on premises and public cloud-connected for the software defined data center (SDDC).

Datera addresses the most demanding applications and their storage in the Enterprise. Built explicitly, deliberately and intentionally for agility it enables IT to:

  • Get going quickly because there is no risk in changing your mind.
  • Setup easily as storage is provisioned instantly by policy via programmable and RESTful API’s.
  • Think and draw conclusions quickly. Datera’s cloud-based predictive analytics engine interprets data on the overall environment and takes action to optimize it.

Datera is not a management veneer trying to portray agility, it is architected from its core to perform, scale, inform and adapt to match the agility that your business demands. For other storage systems, changing the resiliency level or performance for a running application is a gamble. Because Datera is built for change, changing the storage for a running application is just another day at the office. In a practical sense, Datera is built on a common platform used in the execution of every I/O that assumes the system is changing, and it does this without imposing a performance penalty. Furthermore, it is constantly evaluating the state of the system, and if needed, automatically migrates data to deliver the service level specified for each application and tenant. Datera offers an entirely different approach to achieving a new and better end game – and you won’t need a Carli Lloyd hat trick to get you there.

“Ole, Ole, Ole”…… Winning with tier 1 application storage

For other storage systems, incorporating new technology is a forklift upgrade. Buying an entirely new system comprised of the new technology is very disruptive and very expensive. With Datera, just use as much of the new technology as makes sense and add it to an existing system. The system will automatically incorporate and exploit the new technology for both new and existing applications. Already using Dell, Fujitsu, Supermicro, or HPE ProLiant servers? VMs, Containers and Bare Metal? Keep them.

Rack, row and data center outages are guaranteed to take down rack-centric storage systems but Datera can be distributed across racks, rows and data centers and is fully fault domain aware and fault tolerant to failures that would cause an outage or data loss in other storage systems.

Stuff fails and the bigger the systems, the more often it happens. In your old system you are paying for super-fast replacements because if you don’t you put your data at risk. With the same level of redundancy that creates this crisis for conventional and most scale out systems, Datera gives you the ability to replace failed components on a schedule that works for you. Automatic rebalancing will restore your system to the desired redundancy level in minutes instead of what would take hours and a desperate service call in other storage systems. Datera – born in the cloud; built for the agile Enterprise. Let us help you take a new approach to your cloud future and score more goals!

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